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5 from 2 votes

Vanilla Custard Recipe

This homemade vanilla custard recipe is easy to make. Use this delicious dessert sauce as a topping for pies, puddings, crumbles, and cakes. It is made of a few simple ingredients which are probably already in your pantry.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Keyword: custard recipe, egg custard, vanilla custard
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 60kcal


  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoon superfine sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 vanilla bean


  • In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch and set aside.
  • Add milk to a heavy-bottomed saucepan and turn heat to low. Meanwhile, cut off both ends of the vanilla bean. Then place a finger on one end to hold the bean, and with the tip of a sharp knife, cut the vanilla pod lengthwise. Although you don't need to cut it all the way through, it's ok if you do so. Then open the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds with the back of the knife.
  • Add both the pod and the seeds to the milk. Turn heat to medium-low and bring to a simmer. Then remove and discard the vanilla bean.
  • Turn heat down to low and remove the saucepan from the heat and spoon about ¼ to ½ cup (60-120ml) of the hot vanilla milk into the egg mixture while whisking to temper the egg yolks slowly. Whisk constantly until the egg yolks and milk are well combined and smooth.
  • Then place the saucepan back to the heat, pour the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan and whisk until combined. Cook gently on low heat for about 20 minutes or until thickened. Whisk continuously. It is done when it coats the back of a spoon. Store it in an airtight jar or container in the fridge for up to 4 days.



To make the vanilla custard sauce dairy-free or vegan, substitute the milk for your favorite milk substitutes like almond milk, cashew milk, or coconut milk. All of these three options add a lovely flavor to it but change the taste fundamentally. If you are lactose intolerant, use lactose-free milk. No matter which milk alternative you choose, substitute 1:1.

I recommend using only superfine sugar. If you can't get superfine sugar, place granulated sugar in a food processor and pulse a few times until it is fine and powdery. Substitute the sugar for maple syrup, honey, or golden syrup 1:1 = 2 tablespoon (30ml) or use your favorite sweetener (must be fine and powdery or liquid).

Expert tips and troubleshooting
  • Slowly tempering the egg yolks should avoid forming lumps in the sauce. However, if you notice some lumps in the cooked sauce, pour it through a mesh strainer to remove any lumps.
  • Resist the urge to speed up the cooking time by cooking the sauce at a higher temperature. It will thicken too much too fast and could curdle. Cook on low heat and do not boil or simmer the sauce at any time once the egg yolks are added to the milk.
  • If you accidentally overcooked the egg custard and it's not a pourable sauce anymore, then remove the saucepan from the heat and slowly whisk in ¼ cup (60ml) of milk until smooth and combined. Bring back to the heat and gently cook until it coats the back of a spoon.
  • Cook the sauce long enough until it coats the back of a spoon, or the sauce will be too thin. Although it thickens as it cools, you can thicken the vanilla custard after cooking by combining 1 teaspoon of cornstarch and 2 teaspoon of water and whisk it into the sauce. Then place it back to the heat and cook until it coats the back of a spoon.

More questions?
Make this recipe perfect every time. So be sure to check the full post above. I included easy step-by-step photo instructions and a video, to make it easy for you to replicate this recipe.


Calories: 60kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 24mg | Potassium: 70mg | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 153IU | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 1mg